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All content by Nicole Willson. Copyright 2001. No stealing.


Insomniaville -- All the Stuff that Keeps Me Up At Night

4/20 -- Big Hostile Brain Dump.

Is it just me, is it just around here, or does it seem like the entire world has been in one collective piss-ass mood this week? People around here have seemed positively soaked in you-just-better-get-the-hell-out-of-my-way hostility.

I'm still bugged about an incident I recounted in my blog earlier this week: On Monday morning, I saw a woman charge up the escalator at the Metro and run bang-smash into a blind man, knocking his cane several feet away and sending him reeling. That was bad enough, but the bitch barely stopped to mutter a half-assed apology before hopping on a train and speeding off. Several stunned bystanders helped the guy retrieve his cane and get his bearings again.

I still wish those of us who saw the incident could have vaporized the woman with our glares of righteous wrath, or at least branded her forehead with a permanent scarlet RA for "Rude Asshole."

I can't stand Washington Post columnist Bob Levey, but on days like that I understand his appeal. It's tempting to fantasize about writing him a letter detailing the incident in throbbing indignant detail, hoping that he'll publish it and pile on the condemnation and that the bitch will read it and know that this columnist in a national newspaper is talking about her. She'll have a red-hot brick of humiliation burning in her chest for the rest of the day. She'll feel the eyes of everyone in her office and be sure that they read the column and know it's about her. But that implies she's capable of shame, something utterly unsupported by what I saw on Monday.

And many of the forums I visit regularly have resembled an episode of "WWF Smackdown" more than a gathering of adults trying to have a rational discussion. Sometimes I think it's horribly unfair that the people least-equipped to exist well online -- the thin-skinned, the easily offended, the ones who will have the last word at any cost, the ones who are just convinced that everybody's talking about them and laughing -- seem to have an uncanny ability to find the forums where they're most likely to be whipped into a spluttering frenzy. They end up on opposing sides of a debate and tear into each other. The more rational souls attempt to intervene and calm everyone down, but before long there are body parts and blood and guts littering the ground and acrid smoke hanging in the air, and the rest of us are skulking in the shadows muttering "What in the hell was that about? We were talking about figure skating, for God's sake."

And this morning at Bread and Chocolate, I was lucky enough to be in line just before a jerk. The guy rattled off about six different coffee-drink orders to the cashier ("Two lattes, one grande skim and one tall vanilla, two hot chocolates, one molto grande decaf cappuccino and a double-shot half-caf espresso"), kept changing his mind ("No whip on the grande skim -- or wait, whip on the skim, no froth on the chocolate, and make that a molto grande mocha"), and then got pissy when the woman taking his order couldn't get it straight.

Bread and Chocolate has notoriously poor service, but ever since the waitresses got into the habit of plucking stray stickers from my jacket lapels and starting my skim latte the minute they see me coming in the door, I've become oddly protective of them. They're incompetent, but they're my incompetents. And they know what I like to drink in the morning, so lay off.

Maybe the weather is causing all the free-floating hostility. We had a false spring last week, with humidity and temperatures in the high 70s. It lulled people into a peaceful summery complacency. This week has been chilly and rainy, and I think the abrupt change has been making people get a little loopy. The other morning I walked behind a woman who refused to accept the brief return of winter; I had my coat wrapped tightly around me and buttoned, while she was strolling ahead of me in a thin tan short-sleeved summer sweater and a miniskirt. I had to admire her pluck, even if I got cold just looking at her.

Anyhow, this week is almost over and I'll be glad to see it go. Rascal continues to improve, and seeing him perk up and gain weight and come back closer and closer to his old self can make a lot of ugliness go away.

Indulging my inner hit slut

(C'mon, Clix me! I'm getting killed over there.)

The next entry.

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April 2001